Last post of the day

Well, the fifth post of the day – the end of my blog-a-thon (Yeah, I know one post was all that was expected, but what to do, I always talk too much). And I thought I’d post about some things I saw – comments, even posts. But one keeps coming back to me. Harassing me, if you will. It’s at

He thinks the point of Blank Noise is that even looking at girls is an offence. Well, as far as I know, the point of Blank Noise is to create awareness about street harassment. But semantic quibbling aside, I think his problem of ‘What’s the difference between just looking appreciatively and harassment’ is something a lot of people share. So here’s my attempt to clear the confusion.

What’s the difference between chaudvin ka chand ho, ya aftaab ho, jo bhi ho tum khuda ki kasam, lajawab ho and tu cheez badi hai mast mast?

Between a woman in a bra in an undergarment ad and a woman in a bikini in an alcohol ad?

Between a classical dancer portraying sringara and Baby Doll gyrating to the latest remix?

The difference is that there is no cruelty (I use the word as opposed to violence, because we are so conditioned to thinking of violence as physical) in the first, but cruelty is all there is in the second. It is the cruelty that says, “you are a thing; you are worth nothing; I can use you, possess you, and you can do nothing” (with apologies to Andrea Dworkin).

And that is the difference between a look of appreciation and a letch. Appreciation is when you glance at me, look into my eyes, pay me the compliment, and move on. Letching is when you look me up and down, and if I catch your eye, either look away furtively or stare a challenge at me; where it is not about beauty, or even sex, but about the power to define who I am, how I react.


3 Responses

  1. He thinks the point of Blank Noise is that even looking at girls is an offence

    No its BNP that thinks so. And the world does not run on your definition…no matter what you would like to believe….so the distinction you make between appreciation and letching might not be the same one someone else makes. Ergo photographing someone for looking/letching and calling him a pervert is militant feminism…no matter which way you cut it.

  2. Well, the post says “…I came across this place—The Blank Noise Project. The point it makes is that leching at women is an offense. Not just groping and passing vulgarities (which undeniably are)

    Even looking at girls, with unclean thoughts, is a crime.”

    But I agree, the world does not run on my definition. Because it runs on the ‘objective’ definitions that the lecherous man wants satisfied – “how do you define that line between looking and letching?”

    My point was simply that looking is as reciprocal as touching – a look communicates the same cruel messages that a grope does. And while I don’t get your references to ‘photographing’ people who look, surely the question of what to do about harassment is a different one from that of recognising harassment?

  3. and what is wrong with militant feminism in this context greatbong?

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